The Palestine-Israeli conflict is something that has been on the back burner for a bit. While other social and humanitarian crises, such as police brutality last year in the US, and the genocide of Uyghurs in China has been gathering the most attention, the conflict in the Gaza Strip is becoming the front-runner. The Palestinian-Isreal conflict is a sensitive topic and has been going on for a long time. Yet, not everyone understands what’s going on, and the western media are consistently depicting a distorted image of the Palestinian people. So, What is really going on, and why is the western media framing the conflict this way?
Disagreement over the division between Israel and Palestine
The war between Israel and Palestine has been going on for years, with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching 53 years. It is difficult to explain in full, and therefore it is best if we start with why Zionist Jews are interested in Palestine. This is because of the nationalist ideology and movement that is called Zionism. This ideology describes that the Jewish people should have their own autonomous state in the region of Palestine. The migration of Jews to the Palestine area is something that has been going on longer than we might think. Jews who engaged in the ideology of Zionism were already buying land in the Ottoman Empire from 1880s till they established the state of Israel in 1948. The Ottoman Empire tried to stop this colonization with different policies, but this was all in vain. In 1858 the Ottoman Empire introduced The Ottoman Land Code which required landowners to register their land. A lot of the landowners were small farmers that didn’t understand the need to register land. This opened the door for Zionist Jews and by the time of the establishment of Israel they already possessed 6% of Israel.
Now that we have answered the question of why Jews were interested in Palestine, we can take a look at how this could happen in the first place. During the British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948), Jewish immigration to Palestine (about 80,000 in 1914; 175,000 in 1931 to 600,000 in 1947) grew as well as Arab resistance to it. The Jewish immigration grew because of the Balfour Declaration (1917). The British promised the Zionist movement a Jewish state but in the meantime they also promised independence to the Palestinians. With the increase of the immigration flow, the situation erupts in 1936. The Palestinians revolted against British rule and Jewish colonization. They attacked Jewish and British targets such as railways, trains and Jewish settlements. After three years, the British managed to quell the revolt, but the discontent remained. To try and resolve the issue, the United Nations divided Palestine in 1947. The United Nations dealt with this situation because the British were unable to control the conflict. The solution presented by the United Nations was easy: Who got what land depended on the number of inhabitants. Places where mainly Jews lived would become Jewish areas and areas where Palestinians lived would become Palestinian.
That sounds like a somewhat fair deal right? So how come the horrendous situation in the Gaza Strip? When dividing the land, the UN allocated more territory to the Jews than the Palestinian even though there were more Palestinian inhabitants than Jewish ones. The Palestinian people didn’t sign the agreement and when the British officially withdrew on May 15, 1948, Israel declared itself an independent state. The countries that surrounded Palestine deployed troops and sent them to liberate Palestine. The period that followed is called “Al-Naqba” and the Palestinians see this as “the catastrophe” while the Jews call it “the War of Independence”. Villages were destroyed, Palestinian people were massacred and more than 750,000 Arab Palestinians fled the Israel-conquered territory. This was the beginning of a battle that still hasn’t ended and which is abysmal for the Palestinian nation. Israel is occupying more and more areas than was allocated to them in the UN partition plan.
What is happening right now?
A lot of the Palestinians that fled have relocated to the Gaza Strip. Israel is increasingly colonizing and occupying more areas like the west bank and now parts of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, a political Islamic movement, has had the area under control since 2007. Since then, Israel and Egypt have restricted the movement of people and goods in and out because of security measures against Hamas. That means Palestinian people are literally trapped in this area with no prospects.
Since the beginning of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, tensions surrounding the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem have been increased. Demonstrations are increasing and these are heavily monitored by the police which have caused a lot of clashes. The cause of these demonstrations is because there has been a lawsuit over the eviction of six Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a district of Palestinian East Jerusalem. The Jewish ultra-nationalist organizations that filed this lawsuit believe that this land belongs to the Jews and that these families should move out to make a place for them. The Israeli Supreme Court was to make a final decision on the 10th of May, but has postponed the sitting due to the violence.
This is a perfect example of the Jewish population trying to annex more and more land. The Israeli government is using tear gas, stun grenades, bombs and lawsuits bombs and lawsuits, brutally abusing the Palestinian people. Yet, what is the explanation they give to the media? They are trying to keep the peace, this is in response to the stone-throwing youths and let’s not forget: We do this because they fired rockets first.” These are also the explanations all western media love to use to downplay what is actually really happening. An explanation for this is because western countries are funding the war in Palestine. The United States sends Israel 3 billion dollars in military and economic aid. Naturally the US expects something in return and one of the several reasons is that Israel’s frequent wars provide a battlefield where American arms can be tested. The support of the US is in line with other European countries that stated in the past few weeks that they stand with Israel and the right they supposedly have to protect themselves. The support of various world leaders explains why the western media tries to depict the brutal violence that Israel is causing as neutral as possible out of fear to be called antisemitic.
There are no equal parties. There is no Palestinian police to stand up for the Palestinian people in Jerusalem. There is no Palestinian army equipped with the newest weapons like the Israeli army.
The wrong depiction of the situation in the Gaza Strip causes the expropriation of Palestinians to be presented as a conflict happening between two equal parties. This is exactly where the issue lies. There are no equal parties. There is no Palestinian police to stand up for the Palestinian people in Jerusalem. There is no Palestinian army equipped with the newest weapons like the Israeli army. In Jerusalem, Israeli police officers are free to act violently Palestinian residents suppressed and unsafe with very little means to protect and stand up for themselves.
The locations and areas chosen by Israelis to destroy clearly show their motives. In the past couple of weeks Gaza hospitals were targeted, residential homes and offices of international media, including Associated Press news agency and al-Jazeera news channel. It is apparent that there is a genocide happening right under our eyes. Because of the restrictions of the movement of goods and people, healthcare is already non-existent in the Gaza Strip. By targeting hospitals and hospital roads it becomes apparent that Israel is actually targeting innocent Palestinian people instead of ‘militant’ or ‘Hamas’. They are also trying to silence the media by bombing the offices of international media because this was the only place where media organizations could report the events from. An Israeli army spokesman explained that the building had been targeted because it contained equipment from the militant Palestinian movement Hamas. Driving the press away in this way makes it clear that the Israeli are trying to hide what is actually going on in the Gaza Strip.
We have to create awareness, educate people on this subject and more importantly keep putting pressure on our governments and the media.
The one-sided war seems endless and more importantly without any hope. World leaders are not speaking up, and Palestinian people are left in the cold. The western media is trying to stay neutral instead of exposing what is really happening. This means that we have to take control of the situation. We have to create awareness, educate people on this subject and more importantly keep putting pressure on our governments and the media. We are not going to cover this up, and it shows. Citizens all over the world are holding rallies to show their support for the Palestinian people and their disgust to the Israeli’s.
Cover: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona
Edited by: Audrius Šaras